Social Class

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  • Classism - is the treatment of an individual or people based on their social class. They can be treated better or worse based on their race, gender, age, and wealth.
  • Middle Class - is the social group among the upper and working classes, which includes the business and professional workers as well as their families.
  • Social Class - is the segregation of a society based on the economic and social statuses of the people.
  • Jem talks about the segregation of some of Maycomb County's citizens based on their social classes. He says, "There’s four kinds of folks in the world. There’s the ordinary kind like us and the neighbors, there’s the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump, and the Negroes.” (Pg.230) The Finch's are respected as one of the (higher) middle class families of Maycomb.
  • White trash - is a member of an inferior or underprivileged white social group.
  • Miss Caroline Fisher is new to Maycomb County and isn't fully acquainted with divisions of social classes between the families. She is an upper middle class women, comparable to Atticus Finch since they both have an education, good careers and aren't living in complete poverty. She is from a town in Northern Alabama where she isn't so used to teaching children from such poverty stricken families.
  • The Cunninghams are one of the poorest families of Maycomb County. They never take anything from anyone because they are so poor that they wouldn't be able to pay back any cost in money. Mr. Cunningham pays in useful objects like wood and nuts. The Cunninghams are well respected because of their honest and hardworking traits so just because they are poor on the social class spectrum, doesn't mean that they are as low as their economic status.
  • The Ewell family live by the dump and are in the lower class spectrum of Maycomb. Bob Ewell and Mr. Cunningham are about as poor as each other but Mr. Ewell places further down on the social class pyramid because he is not a respectable man. The Ewells are classified as white trash. In the eyes of the towns people they aren't far off socially, from the blacks.
  • Tom Robinson and almost all of the African Americans in Maycomb County were at the bottom or second to last position on the social class pyramid. They had some of the lowest paying jobs and didn't usually have an education, which is why they really didn't have a fighting chance in ever climb the social class ladder.
  • Poverty - refers to a person who has a shortfall of socially acceptable or usual amount of money, including material possessions.
  • Dolphus Raymond although rich , was considered to be on the bottom of the social class pyramid because he had a black mistress and racially mixed children. Jem explains to Scout why this happens with saying, “They don’t belong anywhere. Colored folks won’t have ‘em because they’re half white; white folks won’t have ’em cause they’re colored, so they’re just in- betweens, don’t belong anywhere." (Pg.163)
  • Discrimination - is a decision or action that treats a person or a group negatively, for reasons such as their race, age or disability.
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